South West Wales

Ex-Port Talbot nursery boss 'never let cruelty happen'

Bright Sparks nursery

A Port Talbot nursery care worker has told a court she would rather have quit her job than tolerated children being mistreated.

Shelbie Forgan, 22, and two former colleagues deny child cruelty offences at Bright Sparks nursery in Taibach before it closed.

A work placement student has told Swansea Crown Court she saw a child "flung" by the wrist by a staff member.

But on the defence case's second day, Ms Forgan rejected cruelty claims.

She told the jury: "If I had witnessed something that caused me concern I would have reported it.... even if it meant losing my job."

The prosecution has claimed young children were force-fed and manhandled.

It said, while children were not badly injured or beaten, the treatment of some was so heavy-handed it amounted to "wilful assault".

But giving evidence on Tuesday, co-defendant Christina Pinchess, 31, the former deputy manager, told the court she felt "shocked and surprised" when allegations were made against her.

Image copyright Athena
Image caption Katie Davies, Shelbie Forgan and Christina Pinchess (l-r) all deny child cruelty charges

Jurors have been told she voluntarily attended the police station on a number of occasions and answered detectives' questions.

During cross-examination by prosecuting counsel David Scutt, Ms Pinchess was asked if she had ever force-fed a child after losing her patience.

She replied: "No. If they didn't want the food then it would be taken away."

Bright Sparks' former owner Katie Davies, 32, who is also on trial, said more than £100,000 had been spent on setting it up - which she said was her "lifelong dream".

She told jurors she had taken great care in running the business and would never have jeopardised it by "doing anything half-baked".

On claims of mistreatment, she said: "I would have never let it happen at my nursery."

The court was also told the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales had been "impressed" with the nursery, after two unannounced inspections.

All three defendants deny causing cruelty to a person under the age of 16.

The trial continues.

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